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August 11, 2011

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CUPE in the news on “big box” child care

MAPLE RIDGE—CUPE BC’s child care working group was put on alert last week with the news that a Calgary-based private corporation has purchased five daycare centres in B.C. with plans to purchase at least two more.

Working group chair Michael Lanier was quoted in the Maple Ridge News and later in the Vancouver Sun regarding the Edleun Group’s recent takeover of daycare centres.

“The Edleun Group is really involved in the real estate market,” Lanier told the Maple Ridge News.

“They drive the competition out of the area. They buy buildings, set it all up and then they’ve got themselves a real estate investment. They are not really in this because they believe in childcare.”

Lanier pointed to Australia’s ABC Learning Centres as an example of how large-scale corporate childcare operations can go wrong. ABC Learning Centres folded in 2008 with $1.6 billion of debt after taking over 25 per cent of the daycare spaces in Australia.

In his interview with the Sun, Lanier discussed concern around the lack of access to licensed high quality day care, the large waiting lists and prohibitive fees as a few of the reasons CUPE BC has endorsed a plan that would move child care from the control of the Ministry of Children and Family Development to the control of the Ministry of Education.

The “Community Plan for a Public System of Integrated Early Care and Learning”, created by the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and the Early Childhood Educators of BC, has also been endorsed by Vancouver city council and Metro Vancouver.

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